Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews

About this collection

This collection contains a series of interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016 on the business of craft brewing in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The collection includes interviews with brewers and brewery owners from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Additionally, interviews were conducted that cover packaging (canning), distribution, retail sales, and the politics around regulating the alcohol business.

    The project was developed by Gregory Hargreaves, Hagley's former Oral Historian. Mr Hargreaves also conducted the interviews for the project.
    Image: A page from a souvenir album for the F.A. Poth Brewing Company in Philadelphia, 1890. Learn more in our digital exhibit Beer & Brewing History at Hagley Museum & Library

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Interview with Robert "Bob" Trostel, 2016 January 14
This interview took place in the conference room of BreakThru Beverage Group, lately United Distributors of Delaware, in New Castle, Delaware., Bob Trostel (1954 - ) is President of BreakThru Beverage Group of Delaware. A native of Philadelphia, Trostel gained initial experience in the alcohol industry working in fine dining. Trostel subsequently entered the alcohol distribution industry, where he played a key role in fostering the emergence of craft beer in Delaware., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Gene Muller, 2016 January 29
This interview took place in the conference room of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, New Jersey. Muller discusses his experience in twenty years of craft brewing in New Jersey., Gene Muller (1954 - ) is Founder and Owner of Flying Fish Brewing Company. A native of Pinehill, New Jersey, Muller attended Rutgers before having an early career in as a writer and earning a Masters degree in communication at Drexel University. Muller combined interest in art and technology and founded Flying Fish as an online brewery in 1995. Flying Fish was the first craft brewery to open in New Jersey., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Hugh Sisson, 2016 February 3
This interview took place in the conference room of Heavy Seas Beer in Halethorpe, Maryland. Sisson offers perspective on the emergence and evolution of the craft brewing industry in the Mid-Atlantic, with particular emphasis placed on the challenges of the industry over time., Hugh Sisson (1954 - ) is Founder and Managing Partner of Heavy Seas Beer (Clipper City Brewing Company). A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Sisson has been involved in craft brewing since its earliest emergence on the East Coast, having operated a successful retail establishment selling specialty beers, and opening Maryland's first brewpub in the 1980s. Following the success of those ventures, Sisson founded Clipper City Brewing Company as production brewery. The business evolved over the years and is currently best known for brewing Heavy Seas Beer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Jamie Long, 2016 January 9
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Long offers perspective on the process of designing and building a brewery., Jamie Long (1985 - ) is Co-Founder and Head Brewer at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Culpepper, Virginia, Long studied political science at James Madison University before getting involved in craft beer via work in local fine dining. Long attended the Siebel Institute, and landed a job at Flying Dog Brewing, where he worked his way up to Head Brewer. He decided to open Pale Fire Brewing Company following talks with co-founder Tim Brady., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Lauren Bigelow, 2016 January 6
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Bigelow discusses her background and early career and contrasts it with her experience working in the craft brewing industry. Bigelow offers perspective on breweries as workplaces, the process of selling beer, and the challenges of communicating a brewery's message in a crowded market., Lauren Bigelow (1987- ) is the Sales & Communications Manager at Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, DE. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Bigelow grew up in Ontario, Canada, studied politics at Gordon College, and had an early career in public service work before entering the craft brewing industry with Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company in 2012. She joined Mispillion River Brewing Company in 2014 as head of sales and communications., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Robert Murray, 2016 March 9
This interview took place surrounded by cases of beer stacked to the ceiling in a storage room at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland. Murray offers perspective on the craft brewing industry from the point of view of the alcohol retailer, detailing the evolution of the beer retail space over several decades. The environment yeilded excellent recording conditions, with the exception of music and occasional announcements coming over the public address system., Robert Murray (1957 - ) is President and Beer Manager at State Line Liquors. A native of Elkton, Maryand, Murray grew up in a home atop the family business, a downtown grocery and liquor store. Murray studied at the University of Delaware, and his parents relocated the business to the projected location of Interstate 95. He entered the family business doing the books and eventually, along with his siblings, took the business over from his parents. Under his influence, State Line Liquors has become one of the premier retailers for craft beer in the Mid-Atlantic region., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Ryan Maloney, 2015 December 29
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Maloney briefly discusses his background and early career before a more in-depth discussion of his education as a brewer and his experiences working in the brewery at Mispillion. The process of learning to brew is discussed, as are the technical aspects of the brewing process. Maloney offers perspective on the complexities of brewing as a science and a manufacturing process, and the business and marketing factors that brewers must consider in their work., Ryan Maloney (1986 - ) is Head Brewer at Mispillion River Brewing Company. Maloney, a native of Milford, Delaware, grew up in a farming family, and served in the United States Marine Corps, and briefly worked in government contracting. Maloney started as a part time helper in the brewery at Mispillion River Brewing Company, took an online course through the Siebel Institute, and worked his way up to Head Brewer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Sam Calagione, 2016 January 21
This interview took place in the conference room of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Calagione offers perspective on the importance of craft brewing as a cultural and business movement. The persistent hum in the background of the recording came from machinery in an adjacent utility room, with the apologies of the interview subject. , Sam Calagione (1969 - ) is Founder and President of Dogfish Head Brewery. A native of New York, Calagione grew up in Massachusetts before returning to New York to study English. During that time, Calagione took up home brewing, and began to develop the ideas for Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Calagione played an essential role in bringing craft brewing to Delaware through his activism to change the law to create opportunities for small brewers in the state. The creativity and vibrancy of the Mid-Atlantic craft brewing industry is in no small part a legacy of Calagione's career., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Taylor Smack, 2016 January 8
This interview took place on an enclosed porch adjacent to the dining balcony at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia. Smack offers perspective on the complicated ways in which regulation shapes business; and how major business decisions at Blue Mountain Brewery were informed by regulation., Taylor Smack (1975 - ) is Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Blue Mountain Brewery. A native of Central Virginia, Smack studied English at Hampton Sydney College, and worked writing ad copy before pursuing a career in brewing. Smack attended the Siebel Institute, and landed a job a Head Brewer for Goose Island Brewing before returning to Virginia to brew for South Street Brewing, and eventually opening Blue Mountain Brewery., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Tim Brady, 2016 January 10
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brady offers perspective on multiple positions within the craft brewing industry including his role in brewpub operations, product distribution, and beer production., Tim Brady (1980) is Co-Founder and General Manager at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Northern Virginia, Brady studied at James Madison University before entering the craft brewing industry at Calhoun's Brewery and Restaurant where he worked his way up to Head Brewer. Brady subsequently worked for a distributor of craft beer in the region, when he met Jamie Long, his subsequent co-founder of Pale Fire Brewing Company., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department